While rhythm games like Guitar Hero have been dead and gone for the past few years on consoles, they’ve seen new life on iOS and other mobile platforms. The portability and touch-screen interfaces make tablets the perfect platform for these games, and that’s why games like “Tap Tap” continue to do well. Jumping into the mobile rhythm fray is DancePad for iPad, a game that, while on the surface seems like every other music game, is actually a lot more fun than most, and a lot more creative than other mobile rhythm games.
The premise is simple enough – your iPad becomes a dance floor, and your fingers become your “feet” in the game. DancePad has you tapping and sliding to the beat of an excellent cross-section of music, there’s slower jams and faster grooves, all mixed well to appeal to just about anyone. The music selection is rather diverse and features the likes of Mayer Hawthorne, Blaqstarr, Vintage Trouble, The Bangers, Nabiha and more.
The gameplay starts simply – targets appear on-screen, which you must tap with your finger. Simple, right? Then it speeds up and there’s a time attached to the targets, so you have to hit that target at just the right moment for maximum points. Then, newer targets appear that require you to hold your finger on the target for a longer time. Pretty soon, you’re moon-walking across the dance floor, as you tap and slide to the beat.
Visually, the game pulls you in with graphics pretty much culled from the popular Just Dance games from the Wii. It’s bright and sparkly, and gives you plenty of visual feedback and incentives to keep playing. There’s lot’s of on-screen “cheering” to keep you tapping and sliding to the beat as you try to boost your score and earn more XP for the next round.I’m not a big fan of music games, as most gameplay in the genre’s just a clone of prior games, but DancePad actually rises above the rest. It gets addicting quickly, as you try “just one more song” to unlock more tracks and show off your moves.
It’s not a perfect game, though. At times, you’d have to have superhuman fingers to pull off some of the moves perfectly, and there’s no multiplayer support, which is a huge letdown, considering DancePad would be a great pass-around-and-play party game. Also, the reliance on pay-to-unlock modes can be a bit much, though there is a great option to simply buy everything at once, and be done with it (instead of being nagged every five minutes to buy a new level, as some developers do). Overall, DancePad‘s a good bit of fun for anyone. The music’s excellent, the gameplay solid, and the visuals are a treat.
Audio/Visual – 3/5 : Bright, cheerful and engaging visuals. Nothing that’s going to knock your socks off, but if you liked the graphic stylings of games like Just Dance, you’ll have no problems with these.
Gameplay - 3/5 : While it can get pretty finger-bending-ly complicated later on, the overall gameplay is straightforward and enjoyable
Innovation - 2/5: DancePad brings some new “moves” to the genre, but doesn’t rewrite it in any way
Value - 4/5: The base game, with a mix of solid (but relatively unfamiliar) tracks is a great deal for free. Add -on packs, which include more songs, weigh in at anywhere from .99 cents to $2.99 to make this a well-priced game.
Final Score: 3.5/5